Mormonism is one of the fastest growing religions in the world today. When it first was founded in 1830 there were only six members. A month later this number had grown to forty members. Currently there are estimated to be over 13,824,854 members in the entire world ("Newsroom "). After observing the belief systems of Mormonism one could argue that it contains more similarities to that of a cult compared to that of a new religious movement.
Before comparing Mormonism to a cult, a definition must be laid down. A cult, according to Dr. Walter R. Martin as quoted in Edmond Gruss’s book entitled Cults and the Occult, is “the Adherence to major doctrines which are pointedly contradictory to orthodox Christianity, yet which claim the distinction of either tracing their origin to orthodox sources or of being in essential harmony with those sources. Cultism, in short, is any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith” (Gruss 3). Anthony Hoekema calls cults the “unpaid bills of the church” (Hoekema 1). Hoekema also goes on to say that cults sometimes arise because they believe “established churches have failed to emphasize certain important aspects of religious life, or have neglected certain techniques or values.” ( 1) Many times cults either contain all or some of the following ten characteristics.
The first characteristic they usually contain is the importance they place on having certain convictions about matters of faith. For example if a cultist is asked what he or she believes in they will usually not be hesitant to share their beliefs with you. This may be the leading reason as to why some cults grow in size so quickly. If an individual who has little or no doctrinal teaching with the Bible is exposed to a cult leader, they will be under the impression that the leader has a deep knowledge of the Bible and is able to offer true insight in the scripture simply because cult leaders tend to speak with such confidence that it can be mistaken for knowledge of the Bible.
Another strength that cults contain is the ability to quote scripture in order to back up their belief system. For instance Jehovah’s Witnesses can quickly quote passages from the Bible when asked questions concerning their beliefs. This is one of the reasons cults attract believers. They have the appearance of being able to combat attacks against their belief system that come from other Bible believing churches or religions. If one closely examined their arguments they could probably find loopholes in their arguments.
Cults also tend to have a zeal or passion for witnessing. They are out on the street sharing their beliefs door-to-door. Anthony Hoekema calls them, “enthusiastic propagandists for their faith.” (32). They’re very enthusiastic about the message they have to share with people and they go out of their way to make sure those around them hear it.
Not only do cults to make use of verbal methods of sharing their...